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Thursday, 15 March, 2001, 19:13 GMT
North Korean media slams US 'warmongers'
North Korean soldiers looks through binoculars
Pyongyang views Washington with hostility
The North Korean media is continuing its stinging attacks against US President George W Bush for his hard line approach to Pyongyang.

In a second day of bitter diatribe, the North Korean daily 'Rodong Sinmun' blasted Washington for considering Pyongyang a threat to security.

"The US warmongers have groundlessly found fault with us, further strengthened their hostile policy towards the Republic and their manoeuvres to isolate and crush the Republic," it says.

The commentary appears on the day that 300 North and South Koreans exchanged letters for the first time in 50 years at the border post of Panmunjom.

The mail exchange went ahead despite last minute doubts. North Korea abruptly cancelled inter-Korean ministerial talks in Seoul on Tuesday - apparently as a sign of displeasure at President Bush's remarks.

'Dialogue or war'

'Rodong Sinmun' goes on to accuse Washington of trying to block reunification between North and South Korea. The two countries are technically still at war under a 1953 armed truce.

"The US imperialists are the ringleaders who divided Korea and major obstacles to the country's independent, peaceful reunification."

"We are prepared for dialogue or war."

'Tough response'

North Korean radio also condemned the US for accusing it of being a sponsor of terrorism.

"The US hard line policy towards the DPRK will invite only the tough response of the DPRK."

Minju joson newspaper

"Terrorism is something unique to the US imperialists," it says, recalling various examples including the raids on Iraq in 1999 and US action against Grenada, Libya and Panama in the 1980s as well as the alleged "assassinations of state leaders", including former Mozambican President Samora Machel.

Similarly, the 'Minju joson' paper lashed out at a US human rights report criticizing North Korea for allegedly kidnapping foreigners.

"The DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] cannot remain an onlooker to the infringement upon its sovereignty and dignity".

"This eloquently proves that the new US administration remains unchanged in its reckless hostile policy toward the DPRK," it says.

"The US hard line policy towards the DPRK will invite only the tough response of the DPRK."

'Thousand-fold revenge'

But the US plans for a missile shield to protect against attacks from "rogue states" such as North Korea attracted the fiercest criticism from the state-controlled media.

The DPRK will take thousand-fold revenge

North Korean news agency KCNA

"It is preposterous for the US to push forward moves to establish the "national missile defence" system (NMD) under the pretext of "missile threat" from the DPRK."

"This is a blatant challenge to the DPRK", the North Korean agency KCNA said.

"As the US takes a hard line approach to the DPRK, it is left with no option but to strongly react... If the US imperialists dare turn to confrontation with the DPRK, the army and people of the DPRK will take thousand-fold revenge on them."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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